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People Skills & Self-Promotion: Starting a Career in Real Estate

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If you’re tired of being stuck in a cubicle for eight hours a day, it may be time to look into a career that will keep you on the go and interacting with people every day. Real estate can be a rewarding change if you’re a people person who loves solving problems, desires personal flexibility, and a chance to be self-employed. You don’t need a degree, and age isn’t a factor. It can also be a lucrative career, though it’s somewhat dependent on the vagaries of the housing market in your area. Ultimately, being a successful real estate agent is all about personality and connecting with people, and it’s pretty easy to get started.

Getting Licensed

Licensing is a fairly simple and straightforward matter, requiring the completion of some coursework, much of it having to do with consumer protection, ethics, and discrimination. If it’s difficult for you to be on-site, there are many online courses available. The Michigan Institute of Real Estate offers online classes starting at just $295. You don’t absolutely have to join the National Association of Realtors, but it’s required by most real estate brokers and can be highly advantageous in many situations. The biggest benefit is that it gives you access to multiple listing services, where all homes on the market are listed.

Brokerage

Once you’re licensed, look into becoming affiliated with a brokerage company, which will give you the branding you need for marketing purposes. You’ll have access to resources, such as a website, contract template, and training opportunities. When you’re ready, begin researching brokerages in your area —  there will likely be several but not all are going to be the right brokerage for you. If you need help making a decision, click here, enter some basic information, and the Michigan Institute of Real Estate can help you narrow down your search.

Getting Started

When you’re looking for a job with a real estate company, it’s important to put your best foot forward to land the position you desire. As such, your cover letter gives you an opportunity to sell your background, skills, education, and experience. Think of it as a way to call out points made in your resume. Your cover letter should be no more than one page long, beginning with an introduction, a paragraph spelling out your abilities and any relevant experience, and a few bullet points highlighting capabilities you especially want to point out.

Getting a job, however, is only half the battle; you also need to build up a client base. Most agents get started with personal contacts, friends, family members, and former business associates. Remember, real estate is essentially a word-of-mouth business, so reaching out to the people you know is a good way to launch a network. Your brokerage affiliation can be helpful here as well, providing the resources needed to create a prospect database, through which you’ll announce to everyone that you’ve become a real estate agent and ask them to spread the news.

Social media is a powerful tool when you’re in a people-oriented business, so make liberal use of your Facebook page and communicate on a timely basis with Snapchat and other virtual resources. As a real estate agent, you’re an entrepreneur, which means marketing is hugely important, so put together a business plan with a strong self-marketing component.

A Strong Impression

As a customer-facing profession, being a real estate agent means making a strong first impression on prospective clients. Your broker will set you up with business cards and signage, but it’s up to you to project a highly professional and personable image. The most successful agents are well-dressed, well-spoken, highly responsive and personally engaging. It’s important to be genuine — people tend to be very discerning when someone seems insincere. 

Real estate agents are personable and engaging individuals who enjoy making other people’s dreams come true. It’s a fulfilling career that can also be very financially rewarding. Marketing and outreach are key components, so it’s important to find ways to separate yourself from the competition by promoting in innovative ways.

Written by Cindy Aldridge. Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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